Here’s what I’m wondering…well, first, I’ll say that when politicians, including President Obama, have stated that though the Russians interfered with our elections, they did not impact the outcome…I have not believed that they could know with certainty the Russians did not succeed.
The Russian social media and fake news campaign was tremendous, well-targeted, and their influence was and is unquantifiable in scope.
I was talking about this last summer, before we even fully realized the right-wing hate memes were driven by the Russians. Essentially, they saw a fissure in our culture and attacked, drove a wedge, creating a deep divide in our country. We’ve all been on Facebook about a decade now, and I bet most have you have never been blocked or unfriended as much as you were in 2016.
Second, we are now seeing that the Russian interference in our 2016 election dates back farther than had previously been discussed or reported, at least to before the spring of 2015.
Donald Trump Jr.’s emails, which he released this week on Twitter, no less, just before the New York Times continued their excellent reporting, reveal that he was in fact in love with the plan to collude with the Russians to win his father the Presidency. And Ivanka Trump’s husband, White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, were on board, too. In fact, Kushner is now under investigation for having helped the Russians target their cyber-attacks more effectively.
So, here we are. I started this blog one year ago today, writing about Trump’s children, his alarming campaign, and the ever increasing and encroaching power of the Israeli Rabbinate. Let’s just say that this year did not go as expected, on a personal or political level. (Though I have a bit of solace in having lobbied The Times of Israel to add a tag option for Feminism.) And now we’ve circled back, in Israel and America, to a place where these parallel stories pre-occupy our concerns.
I’m reminded of the famous Holocaust poem by Pastor Martin Niemuller, First They Came:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
At least the Diaspora organizations have been vocal in protesting Netanyahu’s egregious lurch to the ultra-right, but what concrete actions will they take? Americans, Diaspora Jews, and Israelis would be wise to take heed that they – all the theys – usually come for the women first.
So far, with few exceptions, Republican politicians have been largely silent in public, refusing to criticize the President, no matter how warranted. So, here’s what I’m wondering…
Wait until they realize that the Russians did not just try to derail Hillary’s campaign. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll begin to hear a more full-throated outrage and condemnation when it sinks in that the Russians actually helped Trump win the Republican nomination, too.
I wish, how I wish, that my one year anniversary had turned out differently. But I can still imagine the possibilities.
- American Jewry
- Benjamin Netanyahu
- Conservative Judaism
- Conversion to Judaism
- Donald Trump
- Hillary Clinton
- Israel-Diaspora Ties
- Israel-US Relations
- Ivanka Trump
- Reconstructionist Judaism
- Reform Judaism
- US Presidential Elections 2016
- Western Wall
- Women & Judaism